Although we are all aware of the importance of fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet, a comprehensive range of fresh produce is not something we have enjoyed in this country until quite recently. In addition to the major supermarkets which stock an impressive variety of fruits and vegetables, and the long-established local markets, there is now a fast-growing number of small shops dedicated to selling just fruit, vegetables, herbs and nuts.
Increasing use of air freight means that we now have the luxury to choose from a variety of berries and soft fruit, which have short shelf lives. Apart from these, the different vegetables available now greatly enhance the meals we put on our tables. Fresh salad ingredients such as rocket and radish, beans such snow peas and sugar snaps, and cooking vegetables including swede, fennel and celery are now sold throughout the year.
Along with imported produce, we are now seeing an abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables. We have always had kulhlhafilaafaiy, pumpkin, sweet potato, banana, watermelon and papaya. But now these have been added to with fruit and vegetables not native to this country, but cultivated in several of the atolls. Thoddoo is one island which readily comes to mind, with its long history growing watermelon, but there are numerous islands across the country dedicating much of their land to growing produce.
The appearance of smaller shops all over Male’ city, means that fresh fruits and vegetables are even more accessible, since most neighborhoods have at least one shop within a few minutes’ walk. Most of them are quite similar in what they offer, with some also stocking a range of dried fruits and nuts, while others opt for fresh fruit cups or packs, a highly convenient way to eat a mix of fruit, contributing to the daily intake of vitamins and fibre.
Words by Fasah Ahmed
Illustration by Fathmath Azleena